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by on April 16, 2018
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A key state Senate race in Westchester County has drawn millions of dollars in political spending, funding a deluge of television and radio advertisements in the Lower Hudson Valley.

State senate candidates for District 37, Shelley Mayer and Julie Killian answer questions during a student run forum on gun violence at Trinity Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in New Rochelle Monday, April 9, 2018. 

Republican Julie Killian and Democrat Shelley Mayer will square off in a special election April 24 to fill the Senate seat vacated by George Latimer, a Democrat elected Westchester County executive last year. 

The race could push the closely divided Senate closer to Democratic control (if Mayer wins) or help cement Republicans' hold on their last remaining grip on power in Albany (if Killian wins).

The high stakes have drawn high spending, with more than $3 million spent on the race as of Monday, according to state Board of Elections records.

Here's a look by the numbers:

Total spending: $3.4M

Julie Killian, left, and Shelley Mayer, candidates for the New York State Senate District 37, debated at the College of New Rochelle April 10, 2018. Killian, a Republican, is a former Rye City Councilwoman. Mayer, a Democrat, is a member of the New York State Assembly. The debate was held by The Journal News/Lohud. 

At least that much had been spent so far on the race, according to state records available as of Monday afternoon.

That includes:

  • $1 million spent by Mayer's campaign and Senate Democrats
  • About $1 million spent by Killian's campaign and Senate Republicans, though that number is likely larger; a key Senate Republican spending report due last Friday wasn't yet publicly available
  • $1.5 million spent by outside groups, including independent political groups backed by charter-school supporters.

That number is sure to rise: The election isn't until April 24.

TV/radio ads: $2.3M

This shouldn't be a surprise to Lower Hudson Valley residents who have been deluged with television and radio advertisements.

About $2.3 million — roughly 67 percent of the total spending so far — has gone toward ads, according to the state disclosure records.

Most of that — about $1.9 million — has gone against Mayer (or in support of Killian). Mayer and Senate Democrats, meanwhile, have spent about $442,000 on telelvision and radio ads.

Special interests: $1.5M

Much of the ad spending has come not from Killian or Mayer directly, but from independent groups pushing an agenda in Albany.

In all, outside PACs have spent about $1.5 million on the race, with more than two-thirds of that on ads.

That includes about $800,000 worth of ads opposing Mayer paid for by New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, a political group backed by supporters of charter schools.

In one television and radio ad funded by the group, Mayer is knocked for being Senate counsel during the tenure of convicted Senate leaders Malcolm Smith and John Sampson — as well as serving as an assemblywoman under convicted Speaker Sheldon Silver.

"The ultimate Albany insider, Shelley Mayer learned her politics from these corrupt politicians," the ad says.

Campaign mail: $395K

Both campaigns have spent heavily on political mailers that may be showing up in your mailbox.

Senate Republicans, for example, spent about $205,000 on mailers opposing Mayer or supporting Killian in February and March alone.

Senate Democrats, meanwhile, spent $131,818 on mailers for Mayer or against Killian, while a pair of left-leaning outside groups — including the Legislative Majority PAC — pitched in another $58,000 worth of mailers.

"Republican Julie Killian won't stand up to Trump," reads one mailer, which blames Killian and Republicans for not doing more to speak out against federal tax reform.

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